News for 3/13/2007

Francie from 'Alias' pops up in 'Grey's' spinoff

Maureen Ryan

Merrin Dungey has been cast in the two-hour “Grey’s Anatomy” spinoff, according to ABC. Dungey will play a character called “Naomi.”

Dungey will be familiar to “Alias” fans; the actress played Francie, the best friend (and sometime nemesis) of Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner). Dungey has also been spotted on "Summerland," "Boston Legal" and "The King of Queens," among other shows.

Also in the cast of the “Grey’s” spinoff are Chicago’s own Paul Adelstein (much more on that here), as well as Tim Daly, Taye Diggs and "Veronica Mars'" Chris Lowell. The star of the new spinoff, the pilot of which will serve as “Grey’s” Season 3 finale, is former Chicagoan Kate Walsh, who plays neonatal surgeon Addison Montgomery.

According to news reports, the two other female characters in the “Grey’s” spinoff, which begins filming this week, are a psychiatrist and a fertility specialist. It’s not clear which of those characters Dungey will play.

University Park native Shonda Rhimes, as well as Mark Gordon and Betsy Beers, are the executive producers on the so-far-unnamed spinoff. Rhimes wrote the spinoff pilot, which has Montgomery contemplating a departure from Seattle Grace Hospital.

News for 3/16/2005

'Summerland's' Dungey Proudly [Hearts] TV

By Kate O'Hare

LOS ANGELES ( Former "Alias" star Merrin Dungey, who now plays Southern California fashion designer Susannah Rexford on The WB's "Summerland," loves working on television. And, unlike some actors who claim never to watch television -- or, if they do, it's CNN or The History Channel -- Dungey is a self-described "proud TV watcher."

"Anybody who says that," she continues, "ought to get out. It's unfair. What is it that's so beneath you that you accept a paying job, but you won't participate?"

But she does admit, "There was a moment when I was watching 'Charles in Charge' ... but I wasn't like, 'Oh my God, I can't miss it.' I just watched it."

Growing up in Sacramento, Calif., Dungey was a fan of the teen-oriented drama "Beverly Hills, 90210." Now she finds herself the target of teen adulation as part of the cast of "Summerland," currently airing Monday on The WB.

The beach-based sophomore drama focuses on a blended family composed of orphan siblings (Kay Panabaker, Nick Benson and newly minted pop star Jesse McCartney), their aunt (Lori Loughlin) and her young-adult friends (Dungey, Ryan Kwanten, Shawn Christian).

"I was out with my girlfriend from home," Dungey says, during a break in the show's last day of filming in Hollywood, "that I've known since second grade. I was having a conversation with her, then there was this group of girls giggling and whispering, and they finally got the nerve to come up and ask to take a picture with me, which has never happened before. It was amazing.

"It opened my eyes to who this show appeals to. If I had run into Brandon Walsh from '90210' in a store, I would have lost my mind. I remember loving 'Eight Is Enough,' so it's cool to be in a show with that teen iconic status."

Now, Dungey did have fan experiences while she playing Francie (and her evil, butt-kicking double) on ABC's "Alias," but the convoluted spy drama appealed to a different sort of person.

"'Alias' fans are sometimes a very dark and creepy lot," Dungey says.

Dungey admits to having "90210" fan-fiction books, and a mug for "The X-Files," another one of her favorite shows. In fact, she'd love to be in the next "X-Files" movie, whenever that happens, playing, "someone who's not really who they say they are and not really what they say they are. That would be fun."

Currently, Dungey loves ABC's castaway drama "Lost" and especially, the bad-boy character Sawyer, played by Josh Holloway. It's an obsession she shares with Loughlin, who, upon hearing Sawyer mentioned on set, says, "Can we talk about Sawyer? Really, can we talk?"

"Sawyer is so hot," Dungey says. "I saw that guy. My boyfriend was leaving to go back to London to work on a project, and we were walking through the airport, and here comes Sawyer. I said, 'There's the totally sexy guy from "Lost."' And my boyfriend's like, 'Are you really going to say that just as I'm leaving?' I'm like, 'Sawyer, come on.' He's very hot."

Dungey has no plans to cut back on her TV habit anytime soon.

"There are much better things happening in television these days than in any of the movies," she says. "You can turn on a TV show, 'Law & Order,' 'CSI,' 'Alias,' 'Lost,' 'Desperate Housewives,' 'Summerland,' 'Smallville' -- there are so many things happening. To get that fix once a week, it's a blessing."

News for 8/9/2004

The following article appeared in the July/August 2004 issue of Movieline- Hollywood Life Magazine

News for 7/13/2004

The following article appeared in the June 25/July 2, 2004 issue of Entertaiment Weekly Magazine